One of the most problematic transitive/intransitive verb problems in my particular line of work: I marry other people. That is to say, I perform weddings. Officiate at ceremonies. I stand up there, say some stuff, do some other stuff, have other people say stuff, and then they’re married.
I will be performing my very first wedding this next weekend, the marriage of two young people whose connection to me is too circuitous (and too personal) for me to elucidate here. But I think there is something deeply precious in the fact that my first wedding will be two such bright, caring, and energetic individuals. This is a wonderful day for them, a precious moment in their lives that they have asked Christ’s Church universal (as represented in my person) to witness and bless.
I can’t really get over, though, how the selfish part of me has reacted to the whole array. I am some parts terrified about the prospect that I may mess everything up. The last wedding in which I took part as some part of the service included a disastrous moment of forgetfulness on my part (Ed. note – it wasn’t really that disastrous, it just seemed that way to me when I was 15). What will happen if I forget a name? Mispronounce a name? Forget a vow? Forget ANYTHING? What will happen if I don’t do it RIGHT?
Well, the answer, of course, is that everything will be fine. God will recognize their marriage to one another, as will the State of Washington. I may be mortified, but the assembled witnesses, family, friends, and the couple themselves will scarcely remember – or remember with some amusement – the errors and stumblings of a n00b pastor, who has never played this part in this particular ceremony before. I’m worried about it, still, but I’ll survive.
And the good news is that this is what I’m called to do, whether I mess it up or not. This is my calling, the witness of life’s transitions, the support of human people in their journey, and the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I can’t ask for much more than that.